Seats are on sale for the 19th-annual Friends of the Fields Harvest Dinner, the largest event in Clallam County solely focused on local farmland conservation.
Now in its 19th year, the community support raised at the annual Friends of the Fields Harvest Dinner has had a vast and permanent impact on the county, North Olympic Land Trust representatives say.
Thanks to willing landowners and community support, North Olympic Land Trust has conserved 17 farms on more than 520 acres of working farmland.
Funds from previous Harvest Dinners have assisted with each project, Land Trust Executive Director Tom Sanford said.
Last year’s event raised more than $60,000 dedicated to local farmland conservation.
“The generosity shown at Harvest Dinner has not only helped to preserve our community’s agricultural heritage,” Sanford said, “but it has allowed it to continue to evolve and ensure farmland is accessible for the next generation.”
To preserve farmland and all that it provides, such as open space, wildlife habitat, jobs and access to fresh and healthy food, is an ongoing goal for the Land Trust. Farmland is one of the most threatened landscapes in Clallam County, Sanford said.
Land ideal for farming is often ideal for many other purposes and thus pressures to convert farmland are ever-increasing, he said.
Clallam County has lost more than 75 percent of its agricultural lands, and Trust officials said, with the majority of the farmland lost in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley – once known for hundreds of dairies.
Farming in Clallam County, particularly in the Sequim-Dungeness with its microclimate, best-in-the-nation soils and surface irrigation, continues to be an important a part of the local economy and its identity, Sanford said.
The Land Trust is now working toward the conservation of a 132-acre farm in eastern Clallam County known as Wonderland & The 80. Located at Port Williams and Schmuck roads, Wonderland & The 80 is one of the largest pieces of working farmland in the area. Since the 1930s, the land has supported a variety of crops. Today, the land is mainly used to grow seeds crops and feed critical to Maple View Dairy – one of only two remaining dairies in Clallam County.
The Land Trust secured some state and federal funding to aid in the conservation of Wonderland & The 80; however, a portion of the funds necessary for that property and other emerging projects remains.
“At the rate farmland is being converted, we need to be able to move quickly,” Sanford said. “The community’s support at events like Harvest Dinner is key to successful farmland conservation.”
About the dinner
Themed “Know the Hands That Feed You,” the upcoming Harvest Dinner will feature the flavors of several local farms. Additionally, North Olympic Peninsula’s farm-to-table chefs, bakers and butchers are coming together to make the multi-course meal.
Harvest Dinner seats are on sale now. Cost is $125 per person, or $150 after Sept. 3. Tables seat nine guests; buy eight seats and get the ninth free.
About half the seats are already reserved. Seats are not sold at the door.
Purchase tickets at www.northolympiclandtrust.org or by calling the Land Trust at 360-417-1815, ext. 4.